First, your doctor will examine your breasts. You may have mammogram or ultrasound done to look for tiny lumps or other things that can’t be found in an exam.
For breast lumps, treatment and diagnosis are often related. For example, your doctor may insert a needle into a cyst and draw out fluid, both to examine the fluid and to get rid of the cyst. If the fluid is clear and the cyst disappears, your doctor will probably diagnose it as a benign cyst, and no further treatment is needed. Many doctors take the added precaution of having the fluid checked in a lab test. If a lump does not disappear and is still present after your next menstrual period, your doctor will want to re-examine you.
If the fluid from a suspected cyst is bloody, or if little or no fluid can be drawn out, this is a cause for concern, and you may need a biopsy to check for cancer.
Fibroadenomas can be diagnosed only by biopsy. Surgical removal, usually in a same-day surgical procedure, is considered the only treatment if they are large or painful, but treatment is not always necessary.
Nipple adenomas are surgically removed because they are sometimes associated with breast cancer.
Intraductal papillomas are surgically removed before they grow large enough to block the milk ducts.
A high fat diet and alcohol can both increase the risk of breast cancer. And even though there is no proof that diet can cause tumors, studies have shown a relationship. For instance, avoiding caffeine may help shrink breast cysts. And limiting fat to less than 20% of your total daily calories may help shrink or eliminate lumps.
To prevent and treat monthly breast swelling, your doctor may tell you to maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet. Because salt can make the breasts swell, eat less salt near your period. Avoiding caffeine and related substances, such as methylxanthines (found in chocolate and tea), can ease breast pain.